It has started. The counter-offensive to Rafa Benitez being completely honest with what is going on at Newcastle United (namely he was lied to by Mike Ashley back in May) is well underway and being orchestrated in the football media.

It’s my view Keith Bishop’s skills in the dark arts of PR are being deployed. Always remember the man who sits next to Mike Ashley (no, not Charnley, the Robbie Coltrane stunt double in the specs) is close to the club for a reason. Ashley is Bishop’s main client and Ashley holds a substantial stake in Keith Bishop PR. If you want an indication of the affiliation of Bishop to Ashley and vis-à-vis Newcastle United, just check out the website – Keith Bishop PR – click here 

Contact details – 0207 734 9995,

We all know the real, fundamental source of the problems Rafa is facing at Newcastle United relate to the lies he has been told by Ashley in May. We know Ashley is a proven liar as the case for constructive dismissal brought by Kevin Keegan so amply demonstrated. Unless you have been living under a rock for a decade, here is the report of that:

Kevin Keegan Constructive Dismissal victory case 

There are features to the media onslaught Rafa is currently facing. None of those who are being used as dupes for Mike Ashley have any grip on the reality of what is happening or has happened at Newcastle United. But for their own reasons, they are desperate for attention.

It will be a cold day in hell when this fanzine has any truck with Adrian Durham of the despicable Talksport who is being typically provocative in his comments in his desperation to drive callers and listeners to his rubbish radio station. Joey Barton has always put Joey Barton’s interests above all others and to hear him criticise Benitez as a Talksport pundit is simply incredible given his record at United. This is an individual who will not be welcomed back to any of the clubs he has taken eye-watering sums of money from in return for very little. Barton is currently banned from football for betting offences which include backing Newcastle United to lose while he was a player for us. Let that sink in – this whopper was on £60K pw with United, bet against us to lose while many of you reading this were putting your hard earned money into following our team around the country. Twat.

Then you have John Carver. The simpleton’s simpleton. I think we all got to know John’s true self in the Employment Tribunal involving Jonas. He is a disgusting individual and has put himself beyond the pale as far as many of us now consider.

Of course this is all being stage managed in an attempt to create a different narrative for Ashley. We all know the real story is about Ashley’s deceit, taking Rafa and the support for a complete ride. What is being attempted now is to paint Rafa as some kind of negative influence at United, a moaner and one who should just get on with the job – basically be a puppet of Mike Ashley in the way the likes of Pardew, Carver and McClaren  were so happy to do so in return for routes back into football via Newcastle United that they were ill-qualified to have and in which they inevitably failed.

Bishop is busy with a PR strategy that is designed to split the Newcastle United support and to contain the criticism of Ashley across the wider media. Despite giving the impression of bomb-proof to the fusillade of criticism that has come his way down the years, we are now seeing the prickliness of an incompetent bully who has banned journalists hand over fist at United over the last decade and doubtless will do so again.

The most anodyne of comments made in interviews by our players are now being twisted out of shape to look like some kind of veiled criticism of their manager. Step forward The Express, hitherto barely known or even acknowledged or respected for its Newcastle United coverage but now having its “negativity” stories bounced all over the internet in that relentless search for clicks.

The pundits of course at it but none more so spectacularly than Jamie Carragher, who it now seems is a gob-for-hire. Carragher had a pop at his manager this week which is curious because in 2015, this is what the ex-Benitez charge said of Newcastle United (INSIDE THE RAFALUTION – MARK DOUGLAS):

 “it won’t help the team on the pitch but the supporters have tried all sorts and whatever they’re thinking of doing, that’s the only thing left for them.

Newcastle, we always talk about how long they’ve gone without a trophy, so its not as if everybody expects we should win this, we should win that.

The fans know their club better than us. The thing as a supporter is, even if you’re not going to win, you want to have the hope something could happen.

If you’re paying for your season ticket you’re hoping someone upstairs has that same hope and belief that something could happen. Nobody expects to win a trophy – especially Newcastle  – every season but they want to have the hope that something could happen.

That’s just been killed at that club because of Mike Ashley”

So then Jamie, what’s changed pal?

MICHAEL MARTIN – Follow Michael on @tfmichael1892